Leo de Vries

Leo de Vries (1924-2018) studied violin at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Joachim Röntgen. As a result of theory lessons with Henk Badings and Martin LŁrsen he encountered the 31-tone system. From 1956 to 1960 he received violin lessons from Jan van Dijk and in the same period he met prof. Fokker. He took part in a course in dodecaphonic techniques of Wolfgang Hufschmidt, wrote an atonal 12-note composition and stopped composing between 1968 and 1976 out of discontent with the system. Until 1985 he was violin player in the Groninger Orkest Vereniging and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra respectively.

In and after 1977 he developed a quarter-tone music based on the meantone system. For performance of this music he had let a special guitar being built, and in 1980 a harpsichord. From 1980 to 1988 he published several articles about microtonality. In 1984 he became an active member of the worldwide Music Modernisation Association. He was a member of the Rotterdam Microtonal Group.

In 1983 Leo de Vries described in an article in Mens en Melodie three scales in the quartertone system where the modes, going from one transposition to another, only have one tone changed. Since then he discovered that this "through-transposing principle" can be applied to all tone systems.

"The seven pieces from For 31-tone Organ are composed in the 6/31 system: the 6 stands for the sixth tone (the half-augmented second). The scale is a 11-tone chain of this interval and consists of major seconds and diŽses, alternatively. In such a scale one can emphasise certain intervals and chords as one likes. In piece no. 1 this is the succession of seconds, in particular in the low register, in piece no. 2 this are the harmonic sevenths, in no. 4 the ninths in the broken chords, in no. 5 the greater and smaller seconds, in no. 6 the thirds in the lower voice and in no. 7 the harmonic sevenths. In piece no. 3 I have used my rhythmic system DuTri: a rhythm consisting of, very randomly divided, notes with 2 and 3 pulses. This demanding music I have dedicated to our unsurpassed Fokker-organ player Joop van Goozen."